What exactly is Energy?
We see the word energy everywhere. From powering our homes and cars to powering ourselves, energy seems to mean a lot of things. However, while a Red Bull may keep you going on long days and the power company ensures that your lights stay on, energy is more than this. When we talk about our spiritual energy, we are referring to our life force – that which keeps us alive and connects us to all life on earth. This energy flowing through our physical bodies is sustained and shaped by our mental and spiritual selves, connecting the matter that makes up our corporeal forms to the universe itself.
This energy, though, doesn’t just exist in a mass or cloud; instead, it utilizes a network of channels connected to energy centers, much like a spiritual nervous system. These energy centers are known as Chakras. Meaning ‘wheel’ or ‘disk’ in Sanskrit, Chakras are spinning wheels of energy that exist throughout our bodies and unite our matter and consciousness. Chakras have been present in many religions for centuries, and theories regarding the number of Chakras we each possess vary. However, the number typically ranges from four to seven. For the purposes of this discussion, we will focus on the seven main Chakras that align the spine. Running from the base of our spines to the crown of our heads, these Chakras keep us healthy and vibrant, nourishing our physical and spiritual selves through the flow of energy.
Each Chakra Has a Purpose
Now that we know what Chakras are, let’s talk about each one individually. Starting at the base of the spine, the first three Chakras are Chakras of matter, meaning they are more physical in nature. The first three vertebrae are encompassed by the first Chakra – the Muladhara, which represents our most basic needs, shelter, security, and stability. When energy is flowing through this Chakra, we feel safe. The second Chakra – Svadisthana – is located directly above the pubic bone. It is our sexual center and responsible for creative expression and emotional stability, encouraging balance and pleasure when activated. Manipura – the third Chakra – occupies the area from the navel to the breastbone. The source of our power, Manipura is associated with willpower and allows us to assert or speak up for ourselves.
The fourth Chakra – Anahata – is at the middle of the seven Chakras and thus is responsible for uniting the lower Chakras with the upper Chakras, bringing together matter and spirit. Found at our heart center, Anahata bridges our spiritual, physical, and mental bodies and is the source of love, responsible for our ability to connect with others and with the universe.
The upper three Chakras are Chakras of spirit. They are associated with our spiritual and mental selves. Vishuddha – the fifth Chakra – is located at the throat. It allows us to communicate, to not only express ourselves verbally but also speak our highest truth. The sixth Chakra – Ajna – is the ‘third eye’ Chakra, associated with intuition, wisdom, and our ability to perceive truth. Finally, the seventh Chakra – Sahaswara – is the ‘thousand petal lotus’ chakra, found at the crown of our heads. Representing enlightenment, Sahaswara connects us to our higher selves and to the universe itself. Through this Chakra, we can extend beyond our physical bodies to unite our energy with the divine.
Caring for Our Chakras
Like all aspects of life, Chakras must be cared for. When our Chakras are aligned and open, our energy moves freely. However, if the energy becomes blocked, it will stagnate, disrupting our physical, mental, and spiritual balance and preventing our bodies from rejuvenating and healing. We should therefore often focus our awareness on our spiritual nervous system and assess its health. By being cognizant of the interactions between our spiritual, mental, and physical selves, we can ensure that our energy continues to move freely throughout our bodies, providing nourishment to everything it touches and helping us to maintain our overall wellbeing.